Putin Orders South Ossetian Soldiers Integrated Into Russian Army
Prelude To Annexation Of Former Georgian Territory
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed an order to begin the integration of South Ossetian military units into the Russian armed forces. Russia took the South Ossetian territory during the Russo-Georgian War of 2008 and has occupied the area ever since with Russian troops. Russia also recognized the enclave as an independent country whereas the rest of the international community did not.
Under the agreement, the integration of separate units into the Russian Armed Forces implies recruiting citizens for military service in the Russian Armed Forces and sending them to the Russian military base in a voluntary procedure for active duty. Upon concluding such a contract, a citizen must be discharged from military service in the South Ossetian Armed Forces and his further active duty will be regulated by the Russian legislation, reports Russian state news agency TASS.
The situation along the border with South Ossetia and the other Russian occupied area, Abkhazia, in former Georgian territory remains tense as Russian troops have repeatedly moved the border controls further into Georgian territory to claim important infrastructure.
South Ossetia also just held elections of which the Russian government said were fair. Many Georgian citizens have given up on regaining the territory and now are pushing for visa-free travel into Russia as they have with the EU.